I have been a foster mom to over 15 "pit bull" type dogs and I have not regretted a single moment. Though I love all animals, I have a special connection to the breed, which is how I ended up with 5 pit/mix rescues of my own.
Why Foster A Pit Bull?
The need. Everyday there are animals starved, beaten, neglected, abused, and killed by humans who have no regard for life- by humans who may be likely to reenact that same evil on others. The brutality knows no breed or species, as we see and hear stories of these atrocities happening to different animals worldwide. We need people to be the voices for these silenced beings, and I am just one tiny piece of a community full of heroes and activists working to see a positive change in the world.
My calling for pet rescue, specifically pit bull rescue, started years ago when I heard that a puppy was neglected in a cardboard box on the side of a road left to die, and the first person to find him wanted nothing to do with him because he "looked" like a pit bull. That tiny harmless puppy in a box grew to be a loyal, kind, caring, and fantastic family member who never once displayed aggression or any of the behaviors so often displayed in the media. It's always hard to wrap my head around the fact that there are people out there who dislike my dogs purely because of their breed (whom I consider my children), and it's even harder to stomach the things some of these innocent lives endure. There are so many ways to be a part of the solution, and fostering is one huge way to contribute!
Who Should Do It?
A) If you have daily extra time on your hands.
When a foster is in your care, you are responsible for him or her day in and day out no matter what. These pups have likely already had a rough start, so think about how much love and attention they'll need and plan accordingly.
B) If you have experience with dogs.
It is my opinion that pit bull foster parents should be previously experienced with "larger" breeds, socialization, and basic training; however, organizations have varying requirements for their foster homes that may not require such experience. I believe it is important that you do your research on the stigma that comes with this breed(s), talk with others who own or have experience with pit bulls, and deeply consider your living situation before making any commitments. It's completely okay to not be in the position to be a foster parent. There are so many other ways to help and be involved!
C) If your current pet(s) is well socialized.
My dogs love when there's a newcomer here. It means there's just one more friend they get to play with. I have friends whose pit bulls are best friends with chihuahuas, dachshunds, cats, horses, and even birds. They can truly make wonderful companions and buddies. Another great way to see if a pit bull will be a good fit for your home is by doing a meet and greet with your current pet and the foster to get a sense of how they'll interact.
Being a pit bull owner or foster parent is not for everybody. I will never mislead you to believe anything is easier than it really is, or sugar coat some of the daunting responsibilities that can come with being a pit bull owner/foster parent. If you read my last article, you likely got the hint that I'm not trying to glamorize rescue work in any way shape or form. It can be challenging, both physically and mentally, and there are moments that you will feel like you can't do it alone. Luckily, there are so many rescue organizations out there that treat every volunteer and foster parent just like family, so you will always have people who support you and understand what you're going through.
If you're still not convinced, here's a list of reasons I compiled from my experience as a foster mom that should persuade you...
1) They're unbullievably cute.
Sure, it's an extremely shallow reason (and clearly should never be your sole purpose for fostering), but look at that mug! Pit bull puppies are quite an adorable, mischievous, clumsy, and hilarious combination to always keep you on your toes and entertained. If you're familiar with socializing and training dogs, you'll love working with pit pups! Generally, they're eager to learn and love to please!
2) They make the best cuddle buddies.
I have never had a pit bull foster dog that did not like to cuddle. Whether they're 5 pounds or 50, they usually love to snuggle on you. Good luck trying to resist playing hooky from work to stay home and get your cuddle on.
3) They will keep you active.
What my dogs enjoy doing, I enjoy doing. You'll probably find yourself taking walks, trips to the park, hiking, swimming, playing ball, and being active more than usual (unless you already have a dog you do this with every day, then it's double the fun). A happy dog is a tired dog who then becomes a cuddly dog (See #2).
4. They will keep you active. Pt 2
Their gas will literally clear out rooms, so don't get too comfy during your cuddle session because you may just need to exit swiftly. It's hard to be a couch potato when you're forced to run out of the room at any moment. On the upside, they're so cute you can't be mad for too long.
The Only Scary Thing About Me dog t-shirts are available here.
6. They can be heroes just like you.
This rescued pit bull fostered these chihuahua mix puppies who were rejected by their birth mother. Angel, who was once a stray and foster dog herself, became a foster mom to the abandoned puppies and nursed them until they were healthy and each adopted into their forever homes.
8. They are guaranteed to teach you something new.
Every animal that has come through my house as a foster has undoubtedly taught me something new that I was able to use for future situations, whether small or big. Fostering takes complete selflessness, patience, understanding, compassion, and lots of personal sacrifices. I truly believe it will inspire you to be a better person and to do more for others, whether it be animals or humans.
9. There's no feeling in the world like Adoption Day.
A family gains a new member and becomes even more complete because of you. Adoption Day is when all your efforts and work become realized. I will forever remember the moment every single one of my fosters was adopted and met their forever families. It is something so special and incomparable.
10. You get to meet more people that share your passion.
Photo of the Fresno Bully Rescue volunteers at an annual Bully Walk event.
11. They just might be perfect for you.
In the past, I have had two fosters that I was just not able to part with and became permanent members of my family. Sometimes it's hard to tell just who is rescuing who.
If you're interested in fostering a pet or pit bull, contact your local rescue or shelter and set up a meeting. If you're in or around Fresno, California check out Fresno Bully Rescue!
Photos by Noelani G.